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There Are No Guarantees on the Path to Success

Sometimes hard work and persistence don't result in successful outcomes. Here's how to prepare for the bumps in the road life sends your way.
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Speaking with Daniel Waldschmidt, author of "EDGY Conversations" is very much like drinking from a fire hose. His high energy and direct style have given him international success as an entrepreneur, investor, adviser, and now author. I had a chance to speak with him to get his perspective on what leaders need to do to be effective. Here are a few of his key ideas:

  • The old road map to success is broken. Waldschmidt believes that the old road map to success-- get a degree, work hard, and success follows--is broken. For him, this represents a model that is a false promise. The vast majority who have followed this model have fallen well short of their dreams and their potential. The core problem is the principle that "doing" is the key rather than "being." "Doing" is a prescription of activities, while "being" is about embodying your goals and drive. For him, establishing a clearer picture of who and what you are and what your intentional life outcomes are needs to come first. The road map changes as your life changes and there are no guarantees. It is the drive from your being that gives you what is necessary to adapt and succeed.
  • There is still time to change the road you are on. For people who realize they are trapped in an activity-based mindset, they need to break that mindset through being brutally honest about who they are with themselves. One way to do that is through intentional quiet moments of reflection. It sounds a bit New Age, but Waldschmidt's point is that you cannot understand your core if you are crowding it constantly with "doing." You need some time to touch base with your being. His research of top-performers shows a consistent pattern of this intentional personal reflection.
  • Universal truths for the abnormally successful. In preparing his book, Daniel researched high performers in a variety of categories and established his EDGY approach for high performance:
  1. Extreme Behavior--Pushing one's self past what is expected to the level of behavior and performance at the highest level.
  2. Disciplined Activity--Intentional and focused work.
  3. Giving Mindset--A generous spirit in all things.
  4. Y(H)uman Strategy--Authentic connection to other people.

The high performers may have specific qualities to their area of performance that were unique to their field, but the highest performers all demonstrated sustained success with all four of the above traits.

  • Excuses are the poison of low performance. Waldschmidt's work with entrepreneurs and existing companies also revealed the characteristics of low-performers and low-performing cultures. Although there are many qualities that can be named, the most poisonous was the tendency to make excuses. This reflects the separation of those who are defined by their "being" versus "doing" tendencies. Those in the second category believe that if they check all the boxes and follow all of the plans and things don't work out, it's not their fault. People in the first category believe that no matter what the current situation is, they can have an impact and change the outcome.

You can purchase EDGY Conversations by Daniel Waldschmidt here.

Last updated: Feb 27, 2014

TOM SEARCY | Columnist | Founder, Hunt Big Sales

Author, speaker, and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales. With Hunt Big Sales, he has helped clients land more than $5 billion in new sales. Click to get Searcy's weekly tips, or to learn more about Hunt Big Sales.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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